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Hi All,

Hellebores 002

These guys are already pushing through the soil ready to flower during February..

Well we are past the shortest day, so we’re officially heading to Spring ! 🙂 Ok, we know that traditionally we get the worst part of winter over the next 2 months, but nature is already thinking that way, my Hellbores are pushing their flower buds through the soil, ready for an early start and it won’t be long before Snow Drops follow them.

Speaking of nature, my last surviving Hedgepiglet (the other one died when the mother went into hibernation when she was still weaning:) is still up and about feeding, when last year they were all hibernating a month ago. I’ve managed to get his weight up from 220gms to 450gms now on a special tankmix of Dog Biscuits, Mealworms and Suet Sprinkles, so hopefully when he decides to hibernate, he’ll survive now…

Weather Disaster, Hype, Hype, Must print something crap…..

Onto the weather, I see the Beeb et al have been busy hyping up another weather-related disaster story, courtesy of this low pressure system ‘coming in from The Atlantic’. News indeed when it’s the same low pressure that’s been known about for at least a week already, they just failed to forecast it properly. You can see it clearly on the Unisys graphic in last week’s blog.

General Weather Situation

So for Monday we have this low pressure that’s been rattling in high winds and rain for the last 5 – 7 days or so, intensifying and pushing very wet weather into south-west Munster from early doors. It’ll quickly move to cover all of Ireland and then into the south-west of England by morning rush hour.  The south-west and west-facing areas will bear the brunt of it, with heavy rain and flooding highly likely. Scotland will also cop it, initially falling as snow over higher ground, but turning to rain thereafter. By lunchtime, all but the east coast of England will be affected. Winds will be strong, similar to Saturday evening in intensity, so no different from what we’ve already been experiencing, but with the heavy rain, it will make driving conditions tricky. Temperatures will remain mild, high single figures, low double figures. It’s always tricky to predict rainfall, but I’d guess 15-20mm for central and southern areas and double that for western areas (I’m including what will fall overnight into Tuesday)

Christmas Eve sees us still in the grip of this low, so heavy rain continuing overnight, pushed along by those strong south-westerly winds will be a feature of the early hours. By the rush hour, the bulk of this rain has passed, however there’s a likelihood of it turning to snow over higher ground in Scotland and northern England. More rain is on the way though, but lighter in intensity as west Munster and Connacht looks likely to receive some Tuesday morning, as does the south-west of England. By early afternoon, the clouds will break and we’ll see some sunshine over The Midlands and central counties of England, but further north in Scotland that rain continues and intensifies for the evening rush hour. With the brighter weather comes cooler temperatures as we head towards Christmas Day, so feeling chiller than of late. That rain lingers on over south-west Munster, Scotland and North Wales, north-west England late into Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day looks like being a bright, chilly affair with a frost likely to start the day and much lighter winds. A dry outlook for most parts except south-west Munster, north Wales and Scotland, where you’re likely to see some showers through the day, wintry in nature as well. Too late I think to win my Paddy Power bets, but it’ll be close for the one on Glasgow 🙂 or 🙁  By the afternoon, a new rain front is projected to push into the south-west of England and move north-east, so if you’re out for a walk and trying to work off that Christmas Turkey, take a brolly ! This rain may fall as wintry showers over higher ground as it moves eastwards. One flake, one bloody flake is all I need to fall on London and I’ll have paid for a good chunk of Christmas !

As we go into St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day for many), that rain front will still be sitting over The Midlands and north-east of England (Humber Estuary) and may be giving some wintry showers in the mix as the temperatures remain cold. Aside from this, elsewhere over the U.K and Ireland, it’ll be dry, but cold, with those winds swinging round to the north-west, heralding the arrival of more rain I’m afraid as we end off Christmas week.

So Friday looks like closing out the week as more or less a carbon-copy of today (Monday) with strong south-westerly winds and heavy rain forecast.  The rain pattern will also be similar i.e into Ireland first and then moving rapidly across The Irish Sea into western parts of the U.K and particularly for Scotland, I think we’ll see more likelihood of flooding for you I’m afraid. Again over higher ground it’ll fall as a mix of rain, sleet and snow. The worst of the rain will push through by early afternoon, but heavy showers will follow it and they’ll linger again in western areas throughout the whole day.

The weekend looks unsettled with blustery wintry showers, rain for most, but over higher ground, it’ll fall as sleet / snow. In between you may catch some fleeting sunshine, but it’ll be fleeting for sure. Winds will be back to the south-west and maybe that’ll give us a drier interlude for Sunday, cool, but dry, but we’ll see. Temperatures will be mid to high single figures at best as it remains cool.

Weather Outlook

As we close out Christmas week and head for The New Year, I expect Monday and Tuesday to be unsettled, cool with those winds still in the south-west, but by New Year’s Eve, they’ll be swinging round to the north and that’ll bring a cold blast of air down, possibly accompanied by wintry showers for many areas depending on how much moisture is associated with the low pressure system. So cooler, cold for sure and drier going into The New Year.  By the end of that week, I think the winds will swing north-west / westerly and that’ll take us milder again for the first full week of 2014.

Agronomic Notes                                   Without Prejudice

AdiZero’s & Frost ?…

Not being a hip & cool kid, (and not playing golf) I’d never heard of these until last week when a course manager mentioned to me the damage that these golf shoes are doing to greens. I then visited another one on Friday who showed me pictures of significant damage to greens, again from the same shoe. With the fact that a lot of clubs don’t have a winter frost policy any more, golfers are playing on frosty surfaces and these shoes look like they build up ice on the raised part of the show where the spike fits into. This then results in block pattern indentations across the green, not from the spike, but from the block into which it mounts. I see there’s a thread on the Golf Monthly forum debating whether these shoes cause damage to greens. I think it’s too early to say for sure, but definitely when walking across frosty surfaces, there appears to be a potential problem.

Feedback either way would be interesting…What are you guys seeing ?

Leatherjackets

Saw some Leatherjacket damage on a golf green last week even though it had been sprayed recently with an effective kill. The grubs were small, around an inch long and initially I thought they were Bibionids, but closer examination (you were right Colin) showed they were Leatherjackets. (Head recessed, back tips to Spiracles). Just really a ‘heads up’ if you’ve seen pecking, evidence of damage recently and have sprayed….

Leatherjacket

Leatherjacket

 

Right, have to go out and finish the last of my Christmas calls, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a relaxing Christmas break, I hope it doesn’t rain too much where you are 🙂

Mark Hunt